sftfan's Track Clearance Adventure

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by sftfan1909, 9 Jul 2019.

  1. sftfan1909

    sftfan1909 Member

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    My opinion about the Ebbw Vale line has changed after yesterday, which I'll discuss in my report for it ;) My favourite would probably be Merthyr
     
  2. sftfan1909

    sftfan1909 Member

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    Friday 2nd August

    In between days of my rover, this was a small social trip on a Devon day ranger, so not a particularly intense day but I hoped to be able to visit a few shacks and get my final 143s. I didn't know which ones I needed when I was out but I knew I needed three. Anyway I immediately messed up by waking up an hour late but I worked out I would only be missing out on Exeter St Thomas and Newcourt by arriving at 10:45 instead of 9:45. So it was to the 7:48 service which was being worked by 150245, a unit I've had plenty of times on my local line. An uneventful run to Cardiff later, I had the choice of either the 8:26 to Bristol Parkway or the 8:30 to Bristol Temple Meads. I picked 165131 + 166209, obviously sitting in the declassified first section, and enjoyed the run down to Bristol.

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    43304 at Bristol Temple Meads

    Running an hour late meant that instead of having a voyager south (which I didn't particularly mind anyway since I need plenty,) 43378 + 43304 rolled in to take me down the line to Exeter. It's been a while since my last proper XC HST ride and I'd forgotten how much more pleasant they were than both voyagers or 170s. I alighted upon arrival at Exeter and had a short wait for my friends to arrive on 143620 + 143617 which I then joined as we took it down to Starcross. I have visited Starcross station before but I have never boarded/alighted a train so I haven't counted it until now. (I also don't count stations where I walk around but arrive and leave on the same service - photo stops on railtours being an example.)

    We visited the nearby shop for some lunch before returning and enjoying the wait for 150001 to take us to St James Park, finally getting the other 150/0 for haulage as I've had number 2 a few times. After another short wait 150244 + 150263 arrived which we took for a leap to Exeter St Davids, before 800303 appeared for a run to Newton Abbot, overtaking the 150s at Dawlish Warren. However we then rejoined them at Newton Abbot to take us down to Torre.

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    Torquay station

    From Torre we walked the ~1 mile towards Torquay, a station which I have used previously but before I really got into the hobby. 150244 + 150263 returned for the third time today to take us up to Dawlish Warren. We had 20 minutes to look around (not that there is much there) before we joined 143611 + 143603 to take us back to Newton Abbot. This was our last pacer move, leaving me with just 143612 to get before I've cleared the 143s, although at the time I didn't know if I already had or not.

    We had a second pit stop here during our short wait for 43097 + 43170 to take us one stop south to Ivybridge, a station with an odd level of service, I find. This service allowed us to have just a 25 minute wait before 150261 arrived, which we boarded to continue to Plymouth. It was time to return home, and the 17:25 with 43285 + 43321 had the honours of taking me for the 127 miles up to Bristol Temple Meads. I waited around for 158956 to roll in late, before taking a seat for the run back to Cardiff, changing for 143625 on the 21:10 back home. A brief, mainly social day out but definitely productive too :)

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    43062 at Taunton
     
  3. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    Sounded like a good trip to Devon :)
     
  4. sftfan1909

    sftfan1909 Member

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    A few odd bits:
    On Saturday 10th I finally got around to visiting Melksham which has been irritating me for a while. 150233 took me there and back. It was pretty quiet and not really that interesting, so I'm glad I don't have to go back :smile:
    melksham.jpg

    Then on Sunday 11th I went to do the GWR Okehampton service, but first I went on the heritage line to Meldon Quarry. On the journey up I rode in the brake van, which was a strange but fun experience!
    okehampton1.jpg

    Afterwards 143618 took me to Exeter, which means I have now cleared every GWR line :)
    okehampton2.jpg

    Meanwhile today I was supposed to be heading towards the West Highland line, but thanks to the weather I'm now instead doing a Strathclyde Daytripper. That is, if the sleeper actually makes it to Scotland ;)
     
  5. sftfan1909

    sftfan1909 Member

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    Location:
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    Tuesday 13th August

    I've had a trip booked on the Caledonian since just before my 16th birthday (August 4th) with my original intention being to visit the West Highland line, somewhere I have wanted to go to for a long time. I only picked up advances as far as Dalmuir so that I could then use a day return to Mallaig for the onward journey, giving me flexibility as to where I leave and join the sleeper. Unluckily, the WHL then closed due to the landslips caused by the poor weather. Luckily, since my tickets were to Dalmuir, I wasn't going to be stranded in the West Highlands without anything to do, so my plan changed into a Strathclyde Daytripper.

    Before booking the trip I was looking at doing a multi-day rover somewhere I haven't been before. Unfortunately, none of the options were within budget. The sleeper wasn't my first choice due to its ridiculous unreliability, but in the end I decided it was worth a try and would be an adventure regardless :)

    Today was a positioning move to London courtesy of the 15:50 National Express from Chippenham. After the last coach fiasco I made sure I arrived in London with lots of time spare for the coach to run late. Fortunately, it ran to time so I proceeded with my plan of Victoria line stock hunting (I am tackling the tube lines one at a time.)

    With 90 minutes to play with, I loaded up my requirements note page and decided to first head south to Pimlico where it would be quieter. 11029 + 11030 took me there where I waited on the same platform for 11071 + 11072 to Vauxhall. Changing platforms, I jumped on 11048 + 11047 back to Pimlico and then 11065 + 11066 to Vauxhall again. I had a rule that if two duds passed, I would jump on the third regardless of what it was to avoid hanging around stations for too long. This was why I eventually rejoined 11072 + 11071 to Pimlico before 11054 + 11053 arrived taking me away to Victoria. 11050 + 11049 were next to Green Park, before 11075 + 11076 back south to Victoria, then 11017 + 11018 back again to Pimlico and 11004 + 11003 up again to Victoria. By this point I wanted to start making my way to Euston as time was running out, so it was 11070 + 11069 up to Green Park, 11010 + 11009 to busy Oxford Circus, 11038 + 11037 to quieter Warren Street and 11008 + 11007 to Euston. I had time to hop to Kings Cross St Pancras, but alas it was duds 11018 + 11017 there and duds 11049 + 11050 back. Finally, I took 11043 + 11044 to Warren Street and returned on 11074 + 11073, pushing me to 24/47 sets completed which was my target.

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    Pimlico station

    Happy that I was halfway to clearing the Victoria line stock, I finally left the tube after 80 minutes to swing via Sainsburys for food. I was surprised as a meal deal cost £3, which is 50p cheaper than in Chippenham! I recommend this Sainsburys for a Euston food stop. It was then a long walk to the end of platform 2 to identify what loco would take me to Edinburgh. I was hoping for a 92 but unfortunately it was a 90. I was unable to tell which it was so I took a photo and then walked all the way back to switch to Platform 1. I had 10 minutes to wait before we were allowed to board at 20:30 and I then walked down towards the end of the platform, stopping en-route to reassure a confused lady that I was only taking a picture and knew where I was boarding. I discovered it was 90047 leading tonight before walking back down the platform and boarding.

    To be continued...

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    London Euston station
     
  6. sftfan1909

    sftfan1909 Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Wednesday 14th August

    Continuing on from where I left off around a month ago, once on board I found and took my large, quite comfortable seat. I had a solo seat forward facing which was good. As fellow 'guests' made their way in I discovered a mother and her son would be sat in the 2 seats across from me. I didn't have a problem with this, of course, until after we left Euston I think around 2 minutes down and they managed to spill drink all over one of the seats. As well as that, they didn't stop talking until well after Preston, meaning I didn't actually get any sleep until about Penrith.

    I awoke to see us bypassing Carstairs, onto new track for me as we had what felt like a fairly slow run towards Haymarket, at which point the host checked if I was awake and told me where to go. It was 3:53am when I alighted at Edinburgh, which doesn't actually open until 4:45am but I had no problems walking around and watching some of the shunting going on. I did confuse my friendly host but after telling him I was just having a look around he was totally fine with it. Eventually I made my way out to the street, except it was the wrong exit and I went back through the station, soon coming out at the Market Street entrance. I was unsure if the bus parked up was mine but walking up to it the doors opened and I jumped on without issue.

    edinburgh.jpg
    90047 at Edinburgh

    Given that I only had somewhere between an hour or two of sleep, I was very tired and it was only the start of my day. I hoped to maybe snooze a bit on the bus but soon realised that wouldn't be an option for me. Anyway a few minutes behind we left Edinburgh and headed towards Glasgow. I had a theory that the bus would be stopping at Glasgow Queen Street even though the website advertised it as going to Dumbarton first. My theory was proven correct as we turned into Glasgow, so I asked the driver to alight and he let me off after about three attempts of asking. (I don't think my accent is common in Scotland ;) )

    As I was now early, I was able to go with my original plan to head to Alloa instead of Cumbernauld. It was freezing at 6am as I headed towards the travel office to purchase both my daytripper and my Alloa return. The man in the office had some issue scanning my RTVs (foreshadowing for later) but eventually put them through by some means, I think typing the code in manually. Regardless I was on my way and took a seat on 385026 before scratching off my daytripper and sealing the cover. We soon left Glasgow and I alighted at Larbert, a pleasant station to wait at for a few minutes before 385016 + 385011 arrived to take me to Stirling. I really liked Stirling station; it may have been cold but it was very nice.

    I decided I needed some food and a hot drink, so I headed out towards a well known fast food restaurant to pick up a coffee and a well known brand of bacon and egg roll. Unfortunately though, there were no hot drinks available so I had to make do with a bottle of water instead :/ No matter though, I headed back to the station and awaited my service through to Alloa. I was expecting it to be a 170 so I was surprised when 385003 + 385017 arrived as I didn't realise the line was electrified. I was quite enjoying the 385s and was making sure to always sit in the end carriages to get the best noise :D The run to Alloa was had which was not unpleasant but a bit forgettable. I jumped out for a photo and to tick Alloa before jumping back on and heading all the way back to Glasgow.

    alloa.jpg
    385017 at Alloa

    I had time to take a gentle stroll to Glasgow Central, a walk which I did last September so I knew the way. Arriving there I jumped on 380018 to head towards Paisley Gilmour Street, a station which I overestimated the size of for some reason. I had an easy platform change onto 385020 which I took to the end of the line at Gourock. I enjoyed this line although it did feel a little bit slow. Not long after arriving we departed again. This time I bailed at Greenock Central, where it typically started pouring down with rain as soon as I stepped onto the platform. I set off on a walk towards Whinhill station which felt more hilly than some walks I've made in Wales, although nothing on my Johnston walk ;) I soon descended the path onto winning Whinhill and awaited the arrival of 380020 to take me to the end of the line at Wemyss Bay. I had hopes of getting a 314 on this run but wasn't fussed about having a 380 instead. I spent a few minutes admiring the wonderful station before getting back on board and enjoying the ride back to Paisley.

    It was time to leave the Inverclyde lines and head to the Ayrshire Coast line. I first headed down to Johnstone on board 380014. My mission was to investigate whether Johnstone was more pleasant than Johnston. Unfortunately, Johnston (the Welsh one) won the battle as the only thing looking around Johnstone (the Scottish one) made me want to do was get out! Get out I did as my getaway vehicle arrived, with 380018 returning to carry me to the end of the line at Largs. I really liked the line after Ardrossan and found Largs a much more pleasant place to have a short stroll around than Johnstone. I made a sausage roll pit stop before jumping back on the 380 to winning Kilwinning. This station annoyed me a little bit as the platforms came before the junction of the two lines, meaning that I didn't cover the tiny stretch of track between platforms 3/4 and the line past the junction. However, for my initial goal, I'm not too worried about being that pedantic as I have plenty of time to mop up things like that. So southbound it was as I boarded another 380, this time 380108 which I took to Barassie. Not much was special about Barassie but I was soon on the move again with 380016, this time as far as Troon. I liked this station a lot and had no issues at all waiting for a short while for my final 380 ride in the form of 380009 down to its terminus at Ayr. Normally I would treat travelling to anywhere but the terminus of a new line as a cardinal sin. However, given the nature of the line onwards to Stranraer I deemed stopping at Ayr acceptable on this occasion.

    ayr.jpg
    156431 at Ayr

    Time to head back to Glesga, but more importantly it was time for some 156 action which I'd been looking forward to for ages by this point. 156508 became my first SR 156 in the book and I was happy as it was an SPT interior one. I had a speedy run to Kilmarnock where I caught up with old friends 153377 and 153305 looking a bit worse for wear sat in the depot. I was playing the game dangerously at Kilmarnock by not researching the station layout before visiting; all I knew was that if I couldn't find platform 3 in the 3 minutes connection time I had, my plan would be in tatters. Luckily for me, platform 3 turned out to be a whopping couple of yards away from the door, with 156512 already sat waiting for me to board. Happily this was another SPT interior one so I travelled comfortably back up to Glasgow Central. It was now time for a long distance move all the way to Glasgow Central. For this epic trek, I had the privilege of riding my first (and probably last) 314, with steed 314210 producing. I would be doing the Clockwise Cathcart Circle, which was as fun to say as it was to do :D Or maybe I should reword that to "as fun as I was expecting it to be to do," for my real trip was immediately plagued with the swarm of rowdy schoolchildren as soon as we hit Pollokshields East. RTT reports my train as having arrived and departed RT, although I remember actually sitting in the station for several minutes trying to board everyone. Either way, I still had an enjoyable enough trip around the circle and arriving back into Glasgow Central felt a bit surreal.

    While making my way over to my next connection, I spotted filming going on for the next series of "Inside Central Station" which was interesting to see. Anyway next up would be my first 318 spin in the form of 318255 which I was to take to the end of the line at Neilston. Stepping off onto the platform, I slightly regretted not doing my research properly as had I known there was a turnback siding I probably would've chanced staying on as it went in and out. I walked over to the other platform and rejoined, mentally preparing myself for my next challenge of the trip. I'd given myself 9 minutes to attempt the trip on foot between Williamwood and Clarkston, and missing my train would cost me the line down to East Kilbride. Google Maps suggested it was about 14 minutes walking time between the two which I had considered plenty when I planned the trip as I usually take less time. However, the rain throughout the day had made the ground pretty slippy and the last thing I wanted to do was fall over in the middle of a road. So as I arrived into Williamwood I didn't waste any time and hastily headed over the footbridge and out of the station. I usually have a little policy that I refuse to run for trains, although I threw that out of the window on this occasion as I ran towards Clarkston. It dawned on me that I actually had no idea where the entrance to the station was, so as I neared the shops that I knew were just outside I needed to decide where to go. My phone told me I had just 2 minutes to go, which in hindsight was enough time. Unfortunately I made the wrong move in deciding to turn left and head over a bridge, from which I could see my train slowing for the station. It was make or break, turn around and run down past the shops or head down the slope and pray there was an entrance I couldn't see. Alas, by the time I was down the side of the road I could see there was clearly no entrance, and as the train passed I was out of time. :(

    neilston.jpg
    318255 at Neilston

    I was exhausted from running on an hour's sleep in the pouring rain, so I took my time in finding the actual entrance which was just at the end of the shops. It was time for plan B, which was to catch the next service to Glasgow, thankfully in just a few minutes time, and then kill time until my planned Paisley Canal train by doing a short Subway bash. I was glad to see 156508 return, this time paired with 156433 which I sat in to sample the newer type of seating. I found the seats bearable but definitely preferred the older ones. Arriving into Glasgow I had 40 minutes before my Paisley train so set off towards St Enoch. There was something about the streets that, when combined with the rainfall, made them extremely slippery. I was glad I wasn't in a hurry as I lost count of the number of times I nearly fell over just by walking normally. Descending the escalator, I headed to the ticket office where I discovered that oddly day rover tickets can't be issued for Daytripper tickets. This confused me as I was given one last year for holding a Central Scotland Rover. After admitting to the lady I actually didn't know where I was going to be going, she gave me a single and told me each time I needed to leave and go back in I needed to get another single. Entering the system I chose to not play the system and just travel one stop to Buchanan Street, a shack I needed anyway. Winners (obviously) 104 + 205 + 102 arrived for my tiny leap of just 25 chains to Buchanan Street. I exited the station and immediately began to walk back exactly where I just came from, once more on the horrible surface that was the streets. I eventually staggered into Argyle Street, intent on catching a service to Glasgow Central as I was unsure if I had covered the short bit of line last year. However I immediately turned back on myself after seeing the next one was cancelled and was soon back in Glasgow Central by foot. I was surprised to discover I would be taking 318264 on the Paisley Canal service. The journey to Paisley Canal passed relatively quickly and before I knew it I was arriving back into Glasgow Central for what felt like the millionth time at this point.

    I was amazed at how I'd managed to stay awake the entire time so far given that I was nearly falling asleep over 12 hours previously. It did make me a bit grumpy though. This wasn't helped by what happened next. Having throughout the day debated on using my spare RTVs to buy a single between Shotts and Edinburgh to forego the bus replacement from Dalmuir, I took the plunge and headed to the ticket office at the low level platforms. The RTVs didn't scan, just like this morning, but for some reason I was then directed to the main ticket office to try there. My plan in jeopardy, I hurried over, only to be told that my RTVs couldn't be used if they didn't scan, completely contradicting what had happened in the morning. I had to pay in cash and had frustratingly missed my train to Milngavie. I couldn't be bothered to do much so I decided to head to Larkhall instead, joining 318270 for what felt like a really long journey to Larkhall station. On the plus side, at least I now knew I had covered Central to Argyle Street :D As a bonus I alighted at Argyle Street on the way back, as my train to Edinburgh wasn't going to leave for another 2-ish hours. It was back to the subway, with the lady from earlier issuing me another single, before I headed down once more and decided to travel clockwise, having only previously gone anticlockwise. 126 + 208 + 111 turned up and I settled on going to Partick to catch a train to either Central or Queen Street. I alighted at Partick, left the subway station, headed up to the NR platforms and upon seeing the wait for the next train I must have immediately decided I couldn't be bothered. It was back down to get another single, which I accidentally went to the ScotRail booth for at first, before jumping on 107 + 110 + 118 to head clockwise once more and alight at St Enoch, having completed the system (I wanted to do it both ways before calling it complete since the two tracks are pretty much separate.)

    Satisfied with at least clearing a light rail network, I slipped and slid my way over to Tesco for some evening grub and took a seat in the concourse of Central station. With my eye on the departure boards I spotted something, and a quick check of RTT showed that I had enough time for it, so I made my way over to join a Counter-Clockwise Cathcart Circle service ;) It was back onto 314210 for another trip round the circle in the opposite direction to earlier, which I mostly had an empty carriage for. Arriving back into Glasgow for the final time, I didn't have long to wait before 385010 turned up on the 2303 Glasgow Central - Edinburgh service via Shotts. I took my usual seat at the very front and settled in for the long 1.5 hour journey calling at every station en-route. It was good that I would soon finally have an opportunity to sleep, as on this journey although I had an empty carriage for the latter part of it I could hear very loud music which wasn't there at all. It was a bit scary hallucinating like that so I was very hopeful that my sleeper journey wouldn't have any problems. Arriving into Edinburgh on time I was the only person to alight and I made my way over to the sleeper which was sitting in the platform. The same customer host I had encountered 21 hours previously greeted me before I joined the train and took my seat, which annoyingly was facing another. Very shortly after we started moving, I fell asleep and didn't wake up until 90047, dud from the night before, had pulled us into Euston.

    glasgow.jpg
    350406 at Glasgow Central

    More to follow..
     
  7. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    At least East Kilbride is easy enough to recover on another day with a half hourly service pretty much all day.

    A busy trip in Glasgow
     
  8. E759

    E759 Member

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    Location:
    Sussex
    Very enjoyable reports SFT; thank you!
     

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